About Us



The mission of the Riverside & Great Northern Preservation Society, Inc. is to establish a museum and other facilities for the purpose of displaying the design, development, operation and maintenance of steam railways and other steam operating facilities, and to provide education and training for those interested in the design, development, operation and maintenance of such facilities, and in general to promote an educational program for the general public in accorandance with such purposes.


The Society

The Riverside & Great Northern Preservation Society, Inc., is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit preservation society dedicated to the preservation and restoration of steam powered, light railway trains.

The Society owns and operates a light railway living museum on the grounds of the Sandley Light Railway Equipment Works, located a few miles north of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.

The Society was formed in 1988 for the purpose of acquiring the Sandley Light Railway Equipment Works facilities, with the intent to open a living museum on the site.

The Society, now 250 members strong, continues to operate and improve the Riverside & Great Northern Railway, a living museum that attracts 20,000 visitors each year.

Society members come from all walks of life, and give generously of their time and talent to operate and maintain the museum, and advance the museum’s preservation and conservancy efforts.


The Museum

The Riverside & Great Northern Railway living museum opened in October 1989, after Society volunteers restored the grounds and facilities to operating condition.

The Society acquired and restored two of Sandley’s steam locomotives, the 4-4-0 #82, built in 1957 for the Milwaukee County Zoo, and the 4-4-0 #98, built in 1957 for the Knoxville, Tennessee, zoo, as well as other railroad stock built by the Sandley firm.

The museum consists of an operating 15-inch gauge light railroad, operating hourly or as required when the museum is open, a food shop and picnic ground, learning centers, a museum store and operating facilities, all located on 35 acres of beautiful, wooded land along the Wisconsin River.

The Riverside & Great Northern Railway’s grounds are home to a number of rare plant specifies, growing in niche environments among the rocky cliffs surrounding the Dells of the Wisconsin River.

Dells Live Steamers

The Society hosts The Dells Live Steamers and Model Engineers Club, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation that operates 7 1/2 inch gauge model trains on the museum grounds.